God calls a diverse and rich mix of persons to the ministry of Spiritual Direction. It is a ministry, which calls for discerning hearts and a variety of gifts. The Spiritual Director has a great responsibility to the peoples s/he works with and as a faithful companion, serves as a conduit of grace in the lives of those s/he serves. Consequently, Spiritual Direction is a ministry that requires a person capable of a great deal of care and love.
The ministry of Spiritual Direction/Companioning provides an opportunity to intentionally reflect on one’s relationship with God in the presence of another who listens with compassion. It is a religious and spiritual relationship. Spiritual Direction is not psychotherapy or counseling. It is not a treatment, diagnosis, testing, or therapeutic assessment.
While all aspects of a directee’s life are welcome in spiritual direction, these serve as a backdrop for the primary focus of spiritual direction, which is the relationship with God and the discernment of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the past, present, and future life of the directee.
The critical and animating aspect of prayer saturates and embraces the spiritual direction relationship. The spiritual director covenants to pray for and with the directee. The directee seeks to deepen her/his practice of prayer. Some form of prayer, initiated either by the director or the directee, is often included in the time of spiritual direction.
The spiritual director is servant to the spiritual direction relationship, acting sometimes as prophet, pastor, teacher. S/he listens to the directee in a humble and receptive mode and responds with compassion. The responses may include questions, comments, challenges, images, Scripture passages, affirmations, teaching, or holy silence. The spiritual director, knowing that s/he is an instrument of the Holy Spirit, will also engage in spiritual direction with his or her own director.
Our relationship with God is bound up with one another and the whole created order. Therefore, spiritual direction is a private time in the context of community and is never a substitute for community nor does it serve as an escape from the world. Through spiritual direction, the directee discerns the unique ways that God calls her or him to love and serve the world.